Heath Bell will be representing the San Diego Padres in the 2011 MLB All-Star Game. That much is certain, or at least all-but-certain—where he'll be by the trade deadline on July 31st is a different story entirely, if you believe the trade rumors that have swirled around the Padres' closer almost from the moment he became the Padres' closer. Recent reports have mentioned that the Padres' current asking price is too rich for the St. Louis Cardinals' blood, which could be part of the reason the trade talks have gone quiet ahead of the All-Star Break.
Bell might be the best closer available at the deadline, but with a player's cost-controlled years more highly valued than ever teams are increasingly unwilling to surrender a lot of young talent for a free-agent reliever who's likely to pitch no more than 30 innings in a team's uniform. Part of any value equation for a Heath Bell deal at this point might be whether or not he's a Type-A free agent, and how likely he is to reject salary arbitration; a team might be willing to trade prospects for Bell if they could get extra draft picks in return.